Derry & Strabane Council have confirmed the European Union has offered £6.1m of funding for the local area under Peace IV.
The funding has been awarded despite the British government’s plans to invoke Article 50 in the coming weeks, triggering the formal process of leaving the EU.
The Council’s Peace IV Partnership Board said they are delighted that the funding has been secured.
Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock said today: “This European Peace funding to help build positive relations locally will make a significant difference on the ground across our entire council area from rural areas, towns and villages and in the city.
“Peace funding is strongly focused on reconciliation, challenging prejudice and promoting understanding of diversity and good relations.”
Gearóid Ó hEára, Chair of the Peace IV Partnership Board said: “Our programme, which was developed in direct consultation with local communities, includes grant aid opportunities for local community organisations and tendered programmes with community and youth impact, as well as a number of council led initiatives for children and young people, sports development, capital works, community planning and community development.”
The council’s Peace IV team will be responsible for the delivery of a ‘PEACE Action Plan’ focused on three key areas: Children & Young People; Shared Spaces and Services and Building Positive Relations.
“The roll out of the programme on the ground will take a few months to get going,” Drew Thompson, co-chair of the Partnership Board, said.
“I would encourage interested organisations and individuals to sign up for Peace IV e-bulletins by going onto the web page www.derrystrabane.com/Peace-IV where there is also more detailed information on the programmes.
“Signing up for e-bulletins will ensure that you get information on opportunities to tender or apply for grants or importantly, opportunities to take part in events and programmes and project steering groups. The Board are keen to see people and groups from all communities and identities benefitting from this funding.
“The programme will run ‘on the ground’ roughly from June 2017 to December 2020,” Sue Divin, Programme Manager for Peace IV added: “Projects will include opportunities for youth to engage in employment, democracy, community and citizenship programmes. There will also be a broad range of cultural, sports and environmental programmes as well as specific programmes to develop shared spaces in parks, interfaces and contested rural areas. Issues such as bonfires/ alternatives to bonfires; sectarianism, racism and dealing with the past are tackled throughout the programme. All programmes are on a cross-community basis, encouraging people to meet and develop friendships across identities and to engage in a sustained way with diversity.”
The Peace IV Programme is an EU funded programme designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region.
It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this element of the PEACE IV Programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Departments of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland.